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~ Realistic dramatic romance short story – A little girl’s mindset turns into a woman’s when learning a valuable lesson to cherish the people who show you so much love and concern.
“Now entering the ballroom is the debutante, Rachel and her escort David.” the MC announced as I slowly enter the room to a slow, beautiful piano piece. A room full of eyes looked at me in awe; I was the center of attention. My escort walked me in a circle to the middle of the dance floor, and as I did so, I scanned the room, looking for…him. I was a princess only for one night, and my prince was missing.
It was exactly three months before my 18th birthday. My parents decided to throw me a Debut. In my Filipino culture, a girl becomes a lady when she turns 18. Filipinos celebrate this event by throwing a big, extravagant traditional party. I have dreamt of my perfect Debut since I was eight years old. I pictured myself being an “Ice Princess” in a full-size, puffy snow white dress. My theme would be Winter Wonderland, because I was born on January in New Jersey during a snow storm. Everything will be in white, silver, and black. Most of all, my grand entrance would defiantly include a horse and carriage. Though, I had to remember this was reality and I might not be able to get everything I wanted. What made things more unpredictable is that my last minute family decided to plan it three months before my birthday, when it usually takes a year to get everything together. Even at the very beginning of the whole planning process, I wanted to just call off the party. I was under so much stress and nothing was going right.
First, thing I had to do was look for my dress. With my parents’ and my best friend, Candace’s help we looked around for my perfect dream dress. Well my dream turned into a nightmare, when my mother said she wouldn’t want me in a white dress; for she thought it was too wedding like. She just ruined the whole idea of an Ice Princess. I really couldn’t argue with her because, first of all she was going to be the one who was paying for the dress, and also I didn’t want to buy a dress knowing that someone, whose opinion means so much to me, didn’t favor my dress. Seeing racks and racks of dresses overwhelmed me. I was looking for a dress with a tight bodes corset top and a full skirt bottom. I was picky when it came to material. I was not a fan of satin, and mostly all of the ball gowns are satin. I found this one little shop and looked through a catalog of dresses. I saw this light gold dress that I fell in love with once I saw it. Though, the lady who worked there said it wouldn’t be able to come in by January. Disappointed, I flipped through the pages and I found THE DRESS. It was light pink, so light it looked almost white. Then I thought, maybe pink isn’t a bad color to wear, because then I’ll stand out from my guests who are only allowed to wear white, silver, and black. I got approval from Candace, and after she said it was a good idea, we talked to the lady and we ordered it. We had to wait a week for the first fitting.
In the mean while, I had to come up with my performances. In a traditional Debut, you have to perform a dance with a court of eight couples. I told my mom that I strictly did not want a court. I do not trust people easily, and when it comes down to rehearsals, I don’t want to rely on anyone. My mother was upset because she said it would be boring. I had to stand my ground though, and I told her I just want to have 18 Roses. Eighteen Roses is when you choose eighteen close guys who will hand off a rose to you and dances with you. Most of my eighteen roses were going to be my family and my brother’s friends, who are other older brothers to me. Three of my roses that I HAD to have as my roses are my best friends Lowell and Thomas, and my ex Branton. Lowell and Thomas said they were honored to be chosen as my roses and said yes without hesitation. Branton on the other hand, said he doesn’t think he is going to be one of my roses.
“You know if I’m in the same room with Thomas, I will fight him.” Branton said with a firm voice.
“You know how much this day means to me. If you really loved me, you would put aside your ego for one night, for me.” I explained to him. Branton was never a fan of my friendships with Thomas and Lowell.
Branton and I were broken up but we still talked and still loved each other very much. I would be devastated if he was one of my roses. From the months of November to January all we did was argue about being one of my roses. Every night we would yell trying to get our points across, but will never be on the same page. He showed me he would not do go to the ends of the world for me. I couldn’t let this fighting and bickering distract me from planning my birthday.
Each day was chaotic. I got in a lot of arguments with my mom as we butt head on almost every decision we had to make. I felt as if she was planning this party for herself; her party she never had when she turn 18.
I had so much to do, in so little time.
List of Things to Do
order cupcake tower
invitations/ RSVP cards
set date at the Hilton Garden Inn
talk to the DJ/ MC (wedding planner)
I choose David, a family friend of mine to be my escort. Though, David was never my first choice. I told myself that if I did not have a boyfriend by my 18th birthday my escort will be my best friend, Lowell. Though, my parents told me that since this is a Filipino tradition, they would want me to have a Filipino to escort me. They explained that they aren’t against Lowell being black; they just want to stay in tradition. I learned to accept it, and chose David. He and I are really close and I didn’t mind having him as my escort.
I set up two dates for the rehearsal for my 18 roses. Branton made it clear that he wasn’t going to be one of my roses. When he heard about my rehearsal and found out Thomas would be there, he threatened to come to my house and start a fight with Thomas. During the whole rehearsal, instead of paying attention to the Waltz my mom was teaching us, I was worried for the worst. I couldn’t believe he was trying to ruin my birthday. Though, at the end of the day he didn’t show up. We talked it over and we decided to let the whole rose issue go. I told him I would not be mad at the fact he refuses to be one of my roses, if he promised to be at my birthday. He agreed and told me he wouldn’t miss it. I told him, and my entire invited guests that if they RSVP to the invitation, they had to come. I was paying fifty dollars per head, and if you end up bailing out, that is fifty dollars down the drain. With all the money I was spending on the party, wasting money would not be good.
Lastly, my mom and I had to choose 18 couples or individuals to each be one of my 18 Candles. These people each light up a candle signifying a certain characteristic on how they inspire me. These candles included aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I had a couple of relatives coming from New Jersey and California to be one of my candles. I chose three special friends Candace, Marisa and Carissa to be a candle because they are the only girlfriends that have stayed by my side for so long.
Before I knew it, it was January 27 the day of my birthday. I woke bright and early with so much excitement in my little body. Before I left, Candace called me saying she was in front of my house to pick me up. When I got out the house, there on my driveway was a balloons and big banner saying, “Happy Birthday Rachel! I love you!” I was squealing as I give her the biggest hug ever. She is such a great friend to me. I got to school and I didn’t try to make it obvious that it was my birthday. I don’t like so much attention. Though, during lunch time I couldn’t find Candace. Next thing I know it, the principal called my name over the loud speaker. At the table the principals were sitting at, was a vase of flowers and a gift from Candace!! She hit me with two surprises in a day! I just could not believe she put so much thought to my birthday.
The school day was winding down. I saw Branton in the hallway.
“You look nice.” He said to me.
……”look nice???...ummm hello?”
He looked at me for a while, “Ooooh Happy Birthday!”
…..“ Thank you. So you’re coming to day right?”
“Duhhhh! Got my suit and tie all ready.” He said with a smile.
It was good that I was able to relax and not have to worry if he was going or not.
When I got home, the makeup and hair stylist was there to get me all fluffed up. I could not get dressed in my house because my puffy dress with a petticoat, made my dress as wide as a truck, and would not fit in my car! At the hotel Candace and Carissa helped me get dressed. My dad was the one who had to lace up my corset, which takes a specific process. Once I was dressed I stayed in the room, while everyone was getting the last minute set ups done. I sat down, and in the quiet room, I looked in the mirror.
“You’re so beautiful Rachel. This is your time. You’re not a little girl anymore. There is a roomful of people downstairs that love you.”… “Thank you God for blessing me with all this. Please help nothing goes wrong.”
I began to cry with this anxious feeling in my stomach.
“Rachel, you can come downstairs now,” my Dad said opening the door to the room.
I picked up my dress and headed downstairs. As I entered the party area, I saw heads turn and eyes pop open. I looked over to Lowell, who jumped in his chair, and then I knew I looked beautiful.
I went to Candace; we looked at each other and cried.
“Why are you crying? Stop we are going to ruin our make up!” I told her.
I took pictures with all my guests. By the end of it my mouth was hurting from all the smiling. I realized that I didn’t take a picture with Branton. I just thought he was probably running late. Before everyone entered the ballroom, I saw Candace, Marisa, and Lowell conjugated in a little circle whispering. I went up towards Candace.
“Have you seen Branton? Can you call him for me and ask him if he is on his way?” Candace looked at Lowell in worry.
“Marisa already called him, and he isn’t answering.”
“Okay well can you call him again in a little while?”
“….Umm yea I will!”
“Okay Candace is there something wrong? Candace what is up? Tell me the truth.”
“Rachel nothing is wrong! Everything is fine.”
“Why are you lying to me right now? Candace looked at Lowell.
Lowell said, “Let me talk to her real quick.” Everyone scattered into the ballroom in silence.
“Lowell what’s going on?”
He smiled at me. “You look beautiful.”
I giggled “Thank you.”
My mom walks towards us “Rachel are you ready? You are about to be introduced.”
Lowell looks at my mom, “Mrs. Estorco may I talk to you for a second.”
He held up a figure telling me to hold on as he pulled my mom to the side.
He never came back to talk to me.
I got prepared to get introduced with my escort, David.
“Now entering the ballroom is the debutante, Rachel Estorco and her escort David Concepcion,” the MC announced. As David circled me around the dance floor I scanned the room. There was no sign of Branton. Throughout dinner, as people were walking past the doors I would look up checking if it was him. My stomach was churning. I couldn’t let him worry me on my night though. I was able to forget about it as I danced with my dad for my father daughter dance, listen to touching speeches made by my 18 candles, and lastly dancing with my 18 roses. I was even entertained to see my two best friends; Candace and Lowell perform a dance for me. It all paid off; everything ran smoothly. All the stress, arguments, and hard decision makings resulted in a successful party. It was then time to relax dance the night away.
Suddenly, I was frozen. I felt as if the room was spinning. My friend looked at me in fear as I stepped away from him. The people around me were getting a partner and slowly dancing to the song, “I Wanna Know”. I stood there wanting to fall, as my knees grew weak. They were playing Branton and my song. Tears fells from my face as I ran to the bathroom, with Candace and Marisa following from behind.
“How can he do this to me? He knows how much this day means to me. How can he make me look so stupid in front of all those people? He said he would be here. He said he loved me.” Candace and Marisa were rubbing my back to comfort me.
“Rachel we have to tell you something… We knew Branton wasn’t going to come. We knew before the party started. Everyone knew. We didn’t want to tell you because we didn’t want it to ruin your night,” Candace told me.
At that moment I realized all the little whispering amongst my friends, and Lowell and my mom was about Branton. They all lied to me. For a quick second I felt betrayed! How can they lie to me?
As I stood there furious with everyone, the things Candace told me began to process in my head. Then I came to a conclusion, they were just trying to protect me. I was in a room full of people who truly loved me and cared about me. The whole night I was worried about one person who I thought, but didn’t really, love me at all. These people are the best birthday gift I can receive for my Debut. I was able to live happily ever after, even without my prince.